ANDONG, Nov. 8 (Korea Bizwire) – Local governments are increasingly using storytelling to strengthen their brand and boost sales of local food products amid growing competition.
Yecheon County in North Gyeongsang Province is among the local communities in South Korea where efforts are being put in place to boost sales of locally sourced food and agricultural products.
Stemming from a township called ‘Yonggung-myeon’, which also means ‘underwater palace’ in Korean, the local government of Yecheon County developed a confectionary that is inspired by a rabbit’s liver, a reference to the country’s famous traditional story ‘the Hare’s Liver’ which is based in an underwater kingdom.
Despite any historical connection between the story and the region, Yecheon County used the tale to give character to the local snack, which is made of wheat, red bean paste, and walnuts, presenting a nutty taste that has proven popular among tourists.
The snack has become a local specialty, with purchases of the tasty treat becoming one of the must-dos for visitors from outside the region, and prompting the local government to patent the snack in 2012.
Bonghwa County, another region in the same province, resorted to storytelling to personalize agricultural products damaged by a number of hail storms.
Apples grown in the region were given the name ‘Tiger Apples’, based on a local saying ‘sudden showers when tigers get married,’ and apple-picking events were held in support of the initiative.
Andong, home to the biggest apple production in the country, coined the Victory 2017 Andong Acceptance Apple, a nickname given after the city withstood a series of natural disasters this year ranging from draughts and hail storms to torrential rains.
From June, nearly 40 percent of the apple farms in Andong experienced damage due to harsh weather, dealing a severe blow to local farmers before the harvest season in September.
The Andong city government’s new sales pitch is that just like the Victory Andong apples that have survived three types of hardships such as draughts, hail storms and torrential rains, those preparing for university entrance exams and job interviews could use some luck from the apples.
“As an influx of agricultural exports coupled with natural disasters has been discouraging farmers, with some of them considering giving up, storytelling will be adopted more frequently to attract attention from consumers with interesting stories,” an Andong government official said.